Martin and Elizabeth Bushman lived in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They were married there in 1827 and their first 7 children were born there. In 1840, Mormon missionaries came through the area with news of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Martin and Elizabeth were baptized by Elisha H. Davis on 10 May 1840.
Julian Moses wrote of the Mormon missionaries in the area and Martin and Elizabeth Bushman a year later in his autobiography. These few pages give a good feel for the missionary work in that area.
Autobiography of Julian Moses
Born 11 April 1810
Norfolk, Litchfield, Connecticut
Died 12 April 1892
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
The next day we went to Louisville , Ky. April 23rd, took passage on the steamboat Express for Pittsburgh. Arrived at Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania on the 28th. The next day took passage on the canal, arrive d at the foot of the Alleg[h]any Mountains on the 31st and ascended the first inclined plane, entered the tunnel or subterranean passage through the mountain which extends to the distance of 850 feet. Here [we] were compelled to remain over the Sabbath until Monday morning, May 2nd, 1841, when we crossed the mountain and arrive d at Holl[i]daysburg and the next day at Columbia. We then left the canal and traveled on foot through Lancaster and several small towns, and on the 7th of May, 1841, arrived at the house of Br. Daniel Ault, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. May 9th, preached at Daniel Ault’s, 10th at Martin Bushman’s. The next day I was taken sick with a fever, I remained in this condition, confined to my bed, in a state of severe pain and suffering for about eight days when the disease turned to the shaking ague. Br. Bushman and his wife did all they could for my comfort.
I must here mention some few individual s whose acts of kindness I can never forget. Sister B. M. Neff came to see me several times and showed her good wishes for my welfare by exhibiting all the acts of kindness in her power. [Barbara Matilda Neff and Julian Moses were married 25 March 1845.] Also Sister Binly assisted a great deal in administering to my wants. In fact, all the Brethren and Sisters took an interest in my welfare and did all they could for my comfort.
I remained at Br. Bushman’s about two weeks and then went to Br. Binly’s. I had recovered some of [from] my sickness so that I could get about a little, yet I had a chill every day, accompanied with fever. I staid five weeks with Br. Binly and then went to Br. Ault’s at Georgetown. Br. Webster left me at Binly’ s and went on to Connecticut. I was calculating to go to the same place but while I was sick, Elder Elish[a ] H. Davis came [to] see me. He had traveled considerable in Lancaster County and had more calls for preaching than he could attend to. He therefore solicited me to stay and labor in that section of country as there had been a good work done there already and the prospects were favorable for still more to be done. I concluded to stay and as soon as I was able I commenced preaching. I labored mostly in the Southern part of the County, preaching in different places from three to five times a week. Br. Davis traveled mostly in the Northern part of the County. We met however at different places.
July 31st, we met at Georgetown and held a two days meeting in a grove. August 12th, met again at Georgetown to attend a debate between Br. Davis and Doctor Orr on the Book of Mormon. The question to be discussed was this: “Does the Bible prove the Book of Mormon?” A vast many people met composed of Priests, professors of religion and rowdies, all earnestly praying and most devoutly wishing to see Mormonism put down, and its advocates forever silenced in that part of the country. The priests had long wished to see Mormonism [put] down but could not do it themselves, and their followers were in the same dilemma. Consequently they got this doctor to advocate their cause. He was a man in whom they seemed to have the utmost confidence, for they boasted largely of his erudition and also of his great powers and skill at debating.
They supposed that the unlearned Mormon would shrink into almost nothing in the presence of so great a personage. But as the debate progressed they discovered that the unlearned Mormon, clothed with humility, truth and righteousness was able to ward off all the shafts of his adversary and maintain his ground without flinching the least particle. Hence they began to discover that their advocate was totally incompetent to the task and would still leave them involved in their sad dilemma. They continued the debate through the day and then adjourned for a few days.
August 18th, the debate was resumed, the congregation not so large as the first day. During this day’s discussion the Doc. boasted largely of what he calculated to do, that although he might fail of [at] crushing Mormonism by this debate, he was preparing a book in which he should expose the wickedness and corruption of the Mormons so completely that he was confident their progress would forever cease in that part of the country. The Doc. failing to sustain his position by good arguments and sound logical reasoning, turned the subject into ridicule, advocated the cause of persecution, advised all people to treat the Mormons with the utmost contempt, lavished ignominious epithets and abusive language upon his opponent and the Mormons in general. So much so that the honorable and high-minded portion of the community were completely disgusted with him. The debate continued through the day and neither being [willing ] to give it up, it was postponed to some future period.
After this I continued preaching in different parts of the county, a good many attended meeting and seemed to believe although but few came forward for baptism. Oct. 19th, preached the funeral discourse of Mr. McGuire. A large congregation was present and listened attentively to my discourse which was upon the resurrection from the dead. Mr. McGuire was an aged man, he did not belong to the Church yet he was friendly to the cause and a particular friend to me.
About this time I obtained a pamphlet written by Doct. Orr against Mormonism. This pamphlet was filled with lies, abuse, slander and misrepresentations of Mormonism, calculated to deceive the ignorant and raise the spirit of persecution. I spent what leisure time I had for a few days in writing a reply which I sent to Philadelphia for publication.
Br. Davis and myself mad[e] a tour through the Southern settlements, attended a number of meetings and returned to Georgetown. A good number of people still attended our meetings and were very friendly to the cause, but did not seem inclined to embrace the Gospel we taught. Consequently we concluded to leave them for awhile and go to Delaware.
We had spent several months in Lancaster County preaching and teaching the people in the different towns and settlements wherever we had an opportunity. Sometimes in the groves, sometimes in barns, schoolhouses and private houses. We had warned the people faithfully and many had been obedient to the faith. A number of branches had been organized in that county mostly through the instrumentality of Br. Davis before I came to the country. Many accessions were made to those branches during my stay, of good and faithful members. And the prospect that many more would be.